Tibetan Mastiff

« Back to Glossary Index

**Breed Information**:
– Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed.
– Retains hardiness required for survival in high-altitude regions.
– Instinctive behaviors aid in survival in harsh environments.
– Coat comes in various colors and sheds dirt and odors.
– Shown under one standard in the West, but two varieties in India.
– Term ‘mastiff’ was given by Europeans in Tibet.
– Misnaming of Tibetan breeds by early Western visitors.
– Better names for the breed: Tibetan mountain dog or Himalayan mountain dog.

**Temperament and Training**:
– Uses livestock guardian tactics to warn away predators.
– Can run up to 20mph over short distances.
– Requires obedience and socialization training.
– Not suitable for apartment living.
– Prized for being a nocturnal sentry and guardian.

**Health and Genetics**:
– Breed has fewer genetic health problems compared to others.
– Some lines produce long-lived dogs, while others may not.
– Common health issues include hypothyroidism, skin problems, and cardiac issues.
– Can suffer from inherited conditions like demyelinative neuropathy.
– Regular testing for hypothyroidism recommended throughout their lives.

**History and Adaptation**:
– Originally used to protect Buddhist monasteries in Tibet.
– Phenotypically distinct breed bred as a flock guardian.
– Described as powerful animals with large heads and hairy bodies.
– Gained popularity worldwide since 1980.
– Nearly died out in England during war years but regained favor.
– Tibetan Mastiff adapted quickly to extreme highland conditions.
– Higher hemoglobin levels help avoid hypoxia in high altitudes.
– Genomic analysis in 2020 revealed EPAS1 allele from an unknown wolf-like canid.
– EPAS1 allele allows living in high altitudes.
– EPAS1 allele is found in Himalayan wolves and dogs.

**Cultural References and Additional Information**:
– Ten Prized Dogs series depicts a Tibetan mastiff.
– Max is the central antagonist in the 1993 horror film.
– Ulysses in the 2008 Christian animated film.
– Subject of the 2011 animated film.
– Mouse in the Dresden Files book series.
– Bodi and Khampa in the animated film Rock Dog.
– Tibetan names: Drok chi/kyi; Dok kyi; Seng kyi.
Research on Tibetan Mastiff’s origin and phylogenetic analysis.
– Genomic analysis reveals hypoxia adaptation.
– Adaptive changes in hemoglobin function.

Tibetan Mastiff (Wikipedia)

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large Tibetan dog breed. Its double coat is medium to long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-gray (dilute black), and sometimes with white markings around its neck, chest and legs.

Tibetan Mastiff
OriginTibetan Plateau
Height Males 66 cm (26 in)
Females 61 cm (24 in)
Kennel club standards
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

« Back to Glossary Index